The Reflective Detective #1

Hello there, I’m Sarah-Jane (or SJ..) and I am The Reflective Detective.

Thanks for coming along, I appreciate you taking the time.

I am a police officer on a career break after fourteen years of police service.  I am now studying a MSc. in Human Resource Management at Manchester Metropolitan University.  (bit of a time hop – I am now (06/01/18) in my second year of my PhD. examining emotions and MH in policing).

I want to start off telling you why I decided to write this blog and why I care so much about our wellbeing, in and out of work.

I have had a pretty interesting and varied career until this point – at 19 I ran away from home (well, not strictly true, I went to the Army careers office in Liverpool first..) to join the British Army as a musician – a French Horn player.  I did pretty well here and enjoyed life, I excelled at being a squaddie, picking up awards for Best Shot, Best PT and Best New Recruit, and then went on to be awarded ‘best female musician’.  I saw a bit of the world; Cyprus, Turkey, America.. and learnt to ride a motor bike.  Surprisingly still alive to tell the tale..

From there I went back to full time education and studied for my undergrad – in Shipping Operations!  Well, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do then and I was really interested in sailing and the law so…

… it was this interest in the law that really got me – and the idea of being active and contributing to the world.  Having seen both my parents do it, I joined the police.  At this time I was ‘down south’ in Southampton, so I joined Hampshire Constabulary.  A great decision.  I loved being a police officer, I quickly got my first promotion and awards for leadership, and after working as a Uniform Inspector, with four years service, I decided to become a Detective – and made the transition.  Again, another fantastic move.  I really enjoyed my time working on division and with the Major Crime Department.  At the time Hampshire Constabulary was known for being one of the best forces for homicide investigation, and I was in the thick of it!

Having tried a variety of a roles in Hampshire my head turned to bigger and greater challenge, and my love of the north: I saw an advert for the North West Counter Terrorism Unit..  fantastic!  This was where my next adventure lay.. I always wanted to be James (Sarah-Jane) Bond .  So I applied for Greater Manchester Police, the lead force for North West Counter Terrorism.  I was very quickly accepted and within six months of deciding to apply I started at my new home in Manchester.  I began working in child protection in central Manchester then moved to Longsight, heading up the rape unit as Detective Sergeant.  This was a full on job, covering south of the city, including Moss Side and Gorton.  Long hours and intense investigation ensued – but this is what I loved, the cut and thrust of detective work.  It was then that I spotted the advert – Special Branch were looking for a Detective Sergeant to work within the North West Counter Terrorism Unit.  I bagged the job and spent the next three years having the most amazing time.. until someone pointed out that maybe it was time I got down to the job of progressing my career…

So I left the fun behind me and applied for a role as a staff officer to an Assistant Chief Constable, quite an experience and an eye opener as to how a large metropolitan force like Greater Manchester operates – how we manage the risk and protect our communities.  Whilst here I applied for a place on the national police accelerated promotion scheme – the High Potential Development Scheme.   A national initiative that selects 50 officers from around the country who they identify as particularly talented and destined to make Superintendent and beyond in the next five years.  After months of rigorous selection processes I gained a place on the scheme, and the next stage of my career began.

I had no idea that it was to be the last.

(to be continued…)

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